Welcome to the WrestlingNewsWorld.com Premium Newsletter. This is where you will find all of the big news and Ask WNW segments from the week neatly archived for your viewing pleasure. This week's edition covers news from Saturday, July 19, 2014 to Friday, July 25, 2014 as well as all five Ask WNW segments from the week. Use this newsletter as your own personal tool to catch up on any of the news that you may have missed during the week. Below is a table of contents:
Note From Richard: For those that have asked, the Newsletter is organized with the news posted on Saturday at the top with the most recent stories at the bottom. We have it organized this way so you can read the news in the order in which it happened. Thanks for your support!
- Bray Wyatt took part in an interview with Between The Ropes to discuss WWE Battleground, growing up in a wrestling family, his promo process, his success and how NXT had a hand in it, and more. The interview straddles kayfabe throughout but Wyatt does delve into a number of interesting subjects, such as his claim that he doesn't sit backstage with a pen and paper and script his promos. He also addresses his run as Husky Harris within kayfabe, saying that "whoever that person was a few years ago, it was just a shell of a man that never really existed at all." The interview is available at this link.
- On this week's Smackdown Fallout, Alberto Del Rio says he will win the Battleground Battle Royal for the Intercontinental Championship this Sunday. The clip is available at this link.
- Natalya spoke about the evolution of women's wrestling, Sting in WWE, drunk dialing Stephanie McMahon, her match at NXT Takeover With Charlotte and more in a new interview with Chuck Carrol of CBS Baltimore. You can read highlights and listen to the interview at this link.
- Canoe.ca has a new article online featuring quotes from The Rock to promote "Hercules." In the piece, Rock reveals that the injuries he suffered in his match against John Cena at Wrestlemania 29 caused filming to be pushed back two weeks, which was $1 million each week.
It's also stated Rock has a "verbal agreement" with WWE to do one more match. Rock said in the piece if it happens, he'll do his best to protect himself.
You can read the piece in its entirety at this link.
Richard Reacts: The Rock tore his adductor and rectus muscles off his hip in his match at Wrestlemania 29 against John Cena. During the recovery process, he developed a hernia. The injury was severe and caused Rock to miss a scheduled appearance the night after at Monday Night Raw. He is in preliminary promotional information for Wrestlemania 31 next year and Vince McMahon wants to pit him against Brock Lesnar.
- We reported back in June that things between Vince McMahon and Triple H had grown noticeably more contentious, well that hasn't changed. According to a source speaking under the condition of anonymity, the latest major blowup took place a little over a week ago at WWE's live event at Madison Square Garden.
The show was "stacked" because Vince's focus is to make all of the shows at the Garden as big as possible. However, there was a problem. Triple H and Stephanie were legitimately on vacation (not just in storyline) and had no intention of being at the show. Vince "put his foot down" and "absolutely demanded" that Triple H (who was scheduled to appear live) be at Madison Square Garden for the show. He wouldn't budge and it looked like Hunter was not going to budge either. Ultimately, playing the role of peacemaker, Stephanie talked Hunter into cutting their vacation a couple of day short so he could make the live event.
Prior to the show, there was an argument in a closed room between Vince and Triple H loud enough for the producers to hear from across the hall.
The tension continued the next day when Vince ordered major changes to the Raw script two hours before going on the air, despite Triple H's repeated objections that last-second changes are hurting the show.
The changes resulted in some awkward moments on the show, like the announcers (being produced by Vince) having no idea how to handle Paul Heyman's absence from Cesaro.
Things have gotten bad enough between Vince and Hunter that it's impossible to hide the turmoil at this point. From Triple H and Stephanie's perspective, they feel like some of the changes Vince makes now is just to put them in their place. Putting a personal vendetta in front of what is best for the show.
We'll continue to follow the story but I found it interesting that I received this information after Hunter Tweeted the following photo from MSG:
- TMZ is reporting that Nikki Bella is currently acting as Cameron's real estate agent to find a home in Los Angeles for her and her boyfriend Vincent. You can view photos of the home at this link.
- Sheamus is scheduled to guest star on this week's episode of Royal Pains on the USA Network. The show will air on Tuesday at 9/8c. For more on the show, click here. You can also watch a commercial for the episode at this link.
- Dot com has a new article online featuring quotes from Big E and Paige talking about their first tour of Japan with WWE. Click here to read it.
- Batista will be with The Guardians of the Galaxy cast on Monday's episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live.
- Tatanka Tweeted that he's backstage at WWE Battleground in Tampa, Florida. The following is from Twitter:
- WWE is utilizing the beginning of their working relationship with Sting to their full advantage. The company analyzed five Sting dream matches in a new article here on dot com. The bouts are as follows:
#1 Sting vs. Triple H
#2 Sting vs. Bray Wyatt
#3 Sting vs. John Cena
#4 Sting vs. Chris Jericho
#5 Sting vs. Kane
- We wondered over the weekend if WWE would back off Lana's storyline support for Russian President Vladimir Putin in light of recent current events. We noted there was no change at Friday night's live event in Pensacola, FL (nor was there Saturday in Tallahassee).
Lana cut her normal anti-USA/pro-Russia promo prior to Rusev's match against Jack Swagger at WWE's Battleground pay-per-view on Sunday night, calling the American president a "sissy" and praising Putin.
Below is a screen shot:
Some observers noted that not only did WWE not "tone it down" but they "turned it up," in an effort to continue to get heat on Rusev/Lana, while also turning Swagger and Zeb Colter as patriotic babyfaces. The recent crowd acceptance of Swagger changed the initial plan for Rusev to make "quick work" of Swagger, something we mentioned in our Backstage Raw News.
Rusev ended up going over at Battleground but via count out, leaving the door open for the program. After the match, Rusev issued a post-match beat down.
- There was an apparent last-minute change of plans to the 20-man Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal at WWE Battleground. Damien Sandow, dressed as a "beach bum," was included, when he was previously pulled and Rob Van Dam was noticeably absent.
It should be noted that Fandango was pulled as he was scripted into a Kickoff match earlier in the night against Adam Rose.
RVD seemed to indicate something was up earlier on Sunday on Twitter. He Tweeted the following:
I know RVD's latest short-term WWE contract was coming up but do not have further details on his exclusion as of press time.
- The Miz won the WWE Intercontinental Championship in a battle royal at Battleground on Sunday night.
Miz, who hadn't been eliminated, spent a large portion on the outside, where he "played possum." The match came down to Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler. Once Ziggler eliminated Sheamus, he got ready to celebrate when Miz came back into the ring and tossed him out to win the title.
The Miz is a 3-time WWE Intercontinental Champion.
- While the talk coming out of last week's Raw was that John Cena handing the World Heavyweight Championship belt to Ric Flair was a way of retiring it, that's not the case. Cena came out with both the World Heavyweight Championship and WWE Championship title belts at Battleground on Sunday. Both titles were used in the pre-match graphic and the titles were held up by referee Charles Robison.
As previously noted, the long-term plan is still for the WWE Championship belt (the one The Rock introduced to the company in 2013) to be the company's title belt.
- Paul Heyman, in-character, Tweeted that he was "heading to pick up Plan C" during the WWE Battleground main event. Heyman stated in his Tweet it was "just in case" and hash-tagged #Raw.
You can view it below:
- John Cena retained the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the Fatal 4-Way Match at Battleground on Sunday night. The finish saw Cena hit Randy Orton with the Attitude Adjustment onto Kane, pinning The Big Red Machine to go over.
The note to make is that Cena will defend the title against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam, a plan WWE has already confirmed.
WWE SummerSlam 2014 will take place on Sunday, August 17, 2014 from Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. We’ll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage at WestlingNewsWorld.com.
As previously noted, Cena is not scheduled for this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Miami, Florida.
- The Rock was recently interviewed by Chris Van Vliet from CBS-19 WOIO-TV for his new movie "Hercules". However, the wrestling questions popped up during the interview where he talked about Sting, working either another match or a series of matches, and whether he would face Roman Reigns. Thanks to Chris for sending us this interview! Below is an excerpt:
Does he think Sting will be in WWE? I do, yeah. And I know a guy or two so we’ll just put it like that. I do think he’s going to come back and I think it’s going to be great. If The Rock returns to WWE will it be for one match or a series of matches? It’s all of the above. The one match three or four years ago that I started talking about with Vince then turned into a three year run. So who knows? I would love to go back and figure it out. After last year’s WrestleMania the idea was I was going to set up a great match with myself and Brock Lesnar but then I got hurt so that plan got cancelled. He is now in plans to do something with ba da da da which I’m not going to say (laughs) but it should be a cool match. So whenever I do go back, if it is a match it’s just got to be right in terms of who is the marquee value player that really makes sense and at that time when I went back John Cena was the number one guy in the world so we have to see. Would a match against Roman Reigns make sense? I don’t know if that match makes sense now because he’s not their top heel right now, so you would look at that. Unless I went in as a heel and he was a babyface. How he kept his appearance at WrestleMania 30 a secret By me not posting anything (laughs). I came in literally hours before and it’s one of those things where it was a very last minute decision. It was an amazing night and there’s no greater feeling as a performer than that connection with an audience.
As we reported earlier, The Rock has a "verbal agreement" for one more match and Vince McMahon wants him to face Brock Lesnar.
In this interview, he also talked about what he thinks is his biggest accomplishment as an actor, his vintage Rocky Miavia hair (which he says looks like a "pineapple") and the difference between promoting a movie and promoting a match. You can watch the full interview below or at this link.
- Kenta, with Funaki acting as a translator, spoke with Renee Young about coming to WWE and what the future holds for him. The interview is available at this link.
- WWE has posted interviews with John Cena, Roman Reigns, Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee, Heath Slater & The Usos following WWE Battleground. Reigns says he doesn't have an excuse for losing tonight, but his new game plan starts tomorrow on Raw. Ziggler laments how Battleground was another "classic Dolph" moment, being "this close" to getting the win. Click here to watch the interviews.
- WWE wrote in their recap of the Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal at Battleground that Rob Van Dam was pulled due to injury. They did not elaborate but touted a later update.
Click here for coverage on dot com.
We noted earlier that RVD was noticeably absent from the match, with Damien Sandow re-added. We also recapped the following Tweet RVD sent about the match:
- WWE is facing criticism for moving forward for the pro-Vladimir Putin gimmick of Lana, with some accusing she referred incredulously to the MH17 airplane crash in her promo at Sunday's Battleground pay-per-view. The line that's drawing the ire of critics is as follows:
"You blame Russia for recent current events."
You can watch a snippet of the promo at this link.
Click here for coverage by The Score out of Dublin.
We noted shortly after the promo aired that not only did WWE refuse to back off the gimmick, they seemingly turned it up with said line.
Rusev ended up going over Jack Swagger via count out.
- Dublin native Joey Cabray discussed his time in WWE developmental with the Independent. Below is an excerpt from his comments, where he hit on the backstage politics:
"It was like a shark tank," he says.
"It just wasn’t for me. I’m not really good at politicking. There was a lot underhandedness; it was kind of wearing thin on me. I’d rather get by on just my talent alone," he says, more with honesty than bitterness.
Click here to read the piece in its entirety.
- The Daily Mail has a new article online that covers the ridiculous promo by Lana at Sunday night's WWE Battleground pay-per-view. As previously reported, WWE is facing criticism for a line where she referred incredulously to the MH17 airplane crash prior to Rusev's match against Jack Swagger. Click here for The Daily Mail article.
Richard Reacts: Senseless, irresponsible and reprehensible are good adjectives for Lana's promo at Battleground. As I noted on social media on Monday, it's one thing to accentuate stereotypes (e.g. American xenophobia or Russia being an international powerhouse) but it's another to recklessly throw a real-life tragedy into a meaningless promo. 298 innocent people died on Thursday as the result of evil and WWE owes their families an apology.
- WWE has posted a commercial for SummerSlam at this link.
- WWE has announced a series of live SummerSlam Panels before the show on August 15-17. They'll take place from Club Nokia at LA LIVE in Los Angeles and tickets go on sale at AXS.com starting this Saturday, July 26, at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.
The panels will include conversation between a WWE moderator and the featured Superstars, a Q&A session where attendees can ask questions and an opportunity for VIP ticket holders to get on stage with the headliners for a photo.
The panels are as follows:
SummerSlam Panel Dates & Times
Friday, Aug. 15, 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m.
WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan
Saturday, Aug. 16, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
“WWE 2K15” Roster Reveal with John Cena, Hulk Hogan, Sheamus, Cesaro and Roman Reigns*
VIP Ticket holders will receive their photo opportunity with Roman Reigns for this SummerSlam Panel
Saturday, Aug. 16, 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m.
D-Generation X (WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels & Triple H)
Sunday, Aug. 17, 12 p.m.-3:30 p.m.
WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
Tickets start at $50 and go up to $200 for VIP. Dot com has the details at this link.
- Adam Eaton sent word that the Cartoon Network will air Scooby-Doo! The WWE Mystery on Saturday night at 6 PM. You can read their schedule at this link.
- WWEannounced Monday on dot com that John Cena's "Never Give Up" sneakers are now exclusively available at Kmart.
- Randy Orton was stopped by Highway Patrol on Monday, apparently for having illegal window tint. He posted a photo on Instagram with this description:
Really? Again? You'd think the State Hwy Patrol would have bigger fish to fry then me and my overly tinted windows.
You can check out a photo below:
- WWE and OSN announced on Monday that Raw will air live on OSN in the Middle East and North Africa through 2019. You can read more at this link as the agreement also includes other WWE programming - including Smackdown, NXT, Main Event and pay-per-view events - to air on OSN Sports 2 HD.
- Last week's episode of WWE Smackdown -- the go-home to Battleground -- garnered an average viewing audience of 2,885,000 viewers on SyFy. TV By the Numbers has data for all of the top shows on cable for Friday at this link.
- Former WWE Diva Kaitlyn was backstage at Raw in Miami, Florida visiting. Our friend Jorge Romero Tweeted us photos:
AJ Lee & Kaitlyn:
Kaitlyn & Big E:
- Brock Lesnar was photographed outside of the AmericanAirlines arena getting into a tour bus. You can view it below:
- CM Punk co-hosted the AP Music Awards in Cleveland, Ohio on Monday night. He reportedly told Chris Van Vliet of CBS-19 that he would "never ever" go back to WWE. Alex Barie will have more after Raw. Here's a photo:
- Chris Van Vliet from CBS-19 out of Cleveland, Ohio interviewed former WWE star CM Punk on the red carpet at the AP Music Awards at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday night.
Punk, in good spirits, said he feel's "f*ckin' awesome" and talked about being asked to take part in the festivities. He said that he was originally asked to host the AP Music Awards but at the time, he had prior engagements that wouldn't allow him to be there on a Monday. Punk said those fell through and here he is. He joked around and said he was there from years and years of friendships.
Van Vliet reminded Punk it was in Cleveland that he was last with "that company" (remember, Punk was at the Quicken Loans Arena prior to Raw when he met with Vince McMahon and Triple H and walked out). Punk said there are chunks of his life that he doesn't remember [during the past 6 months] due to "staph infections" and "concussions." He joked, you can't blame it all on drugs with this guy because he's straight edge. Punk showed off his wedding band when explaining what he'd been doing over the past 6 months. He said he's off the market.
CM Punk said he's not a WWE superstar or a former WWE superstar. He's CM Punk, just a superstar. Van Vliet asked him if there's ever a chance we'll see him back in a squared circle. Punk answered no, then got sarcastic with it. He over accentuated that he'll "never ever EVER" be back, saying Twitter was going to go crazy and they were going to hold him to it.
- It was officially confirmed on this week's Raw that Brock Lesnar will challenge John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the main event of this year's SummerSlam.
WWE SummerSlam 2014 will take place on Sunday, August 17, 2014 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. We'll have exclusive live play-by-play coverage at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
- In this week's Raw Fallout, Dean Ambrose gives Stephanie McMahon advice for her time in jail, Paige speaks on her heel turn, Emma & Natalya react to the turn, Zack Ryder celebrates his win & Flo Rida says we'll see him again in the future. The clips are embedded below:
WWE Raw TV notes…
- As the storyline goes, Cesaro has separated from Paul Heyman and is looking to align with The Authority. He beat Dean Ambrose in a singles match via disqualification on this week's telecast when Ambrose used a chair.
- Flo Rida performed live from Miami, as you can view highlights at this link.
- The Rock's mother Ata Johnson was in attendance at this week's show.
- Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns beat Seth Rollins & Kane in a dark match main event after the show ended.
- Nikki Bella's bare breast was exposed after the 4-on-1 handicap match. Production caught it and cut the feed, however, pictures still ended up circulating on social media.
Backstage news from Monday Night Raw in Miami, Florida…
- Paul Heyman was heavily praised for his work on the mic in the final segment. One observer noted that he is on such a different that it isn't even fair anymore. As for Heyman separating from Cesaro, it all has to do with differentiating Cesaro from Brock Lesnar and putting all of the Heyman focus on Brock.
- Brock Lesnar's appearance on this week's Raw was basically advertised without being advertised. The heavy "Plan C" mentions on social media were part of drawing viewer interest, causing people to tune in expecting a Brock appearance without officially announcing him for the show.
- As noted, Nikki Bella had a wardrobe malfunction with her bare breast being exposed. While production caught it, they didn't catch it quick enough for unedited screen shots to hit social media. This isn't the first time it's happened with Nikki and I believe there was some talk about bigger tops, rather than relying on double-sided tape.
- If you were surprised about Zack Ryder and Dolph Ziggler getting victories on the same show, someone in the know commented that "hell was freezing over."
- WWE appears to be reverting back to the original plan with Rusev moving on from Jack Swagger. It was stated on commentary that Swagger tapped out to Rusev (when he was counted out) and some see that as the company's way of moving on. That was the original finish, with Rusev making quick work of Swagger. The plans for the match were altered when Swagger/Zeb Colter were well received by the Raw audience a couple of weeks ago. The two were given extra time to practice on last week's live events.
- Lana's promo at Battleground continues to be a point of contention. WWE apologized, not for the promo itself, but for anyone that "misunderstood" it. They claim the promo had nothing to do with the Malaysia Airlines crash from last week and the gimmick was just airing untouched as it has for the past 90 days. There's also been some question as to how much Lana's promo was scripted and whether or not her "you blame Russia for recent current events" line was her ad-libbing. At any rate, Lana being interrupted by The Great Khali on Raw was by design.
- Bobby Lashleyaccused WWE of biting the TNA angle with him, Kenny King and MVP with the alliance of Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods. We're told the faction is "all Vince."
- The current plans for SummerSlam are as follows - Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose, Brie Bella vs. Stephanie McMahon, Paige vs. AJ Lee for the Divas Championship, Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt, Sheamus vs. The Miz and a triple threat tag team championship match. Plans are obviously subject to change but that's a glimpse following Raw.
- Chris Jericho was not backstage at this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Miami, Florida. The Wyatt Family's "backstage attack" on him was taped at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida on Sunday.
Highlights of Bray Wyatt's promo "after the attack" on this week's episode of Raw are online at this link.
Below is a photo of Jericho with a fan at the airport on Monday:
- This week's episode of WWE Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 4,325,333 viewers on the USA Network. Below is how the show broke down by hour:
Hour one - 3,932,000 viewers
Hour two - 4,523,000 viewers
Hour three - 4,521,000 viewers
WWE should be happy they gained audience from hour one to hour two without a big drop off for the final hour. TV by the Numbers has data for all of the top 100 shows on cable on Monday at this link.
- The girlfriends of Randy Orton and Jerry Lawler sat at ringside together at Sunday's WWE Battleground pay-per-view. Below is a photo:
- Dot com has a Q&A online with Chris Jericho to promote the release of Fozzy's new "Do You Wanna Start a War" album. Click here to read it.
- WWE progressed the Stephanie McMahon arrest angle from Raw, noting she was "released on bond" early Tuesday morning. You can read the kayfabe coverage here on dot com.
- Big Show, who has been off WWE shows filming the WWE Studios production Vendetta, was backstage at this week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Miami, Florida. Here are some photos posted by "Papa Hype" on Twitter:
- WWE posted a new commercial on YouTube promoting John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar for SummerSlam. You can watch it at this link.
- Mick Foley was in my hometown of Beckley, WV on Monday night with his standup comedy act. The local newspaper interviewed him at this link. The publication also notes that Chris Jericho is scheduled to visit Beckley on September 25, 2014.
- John Cena Tweeted the following on Tuesday:
- Wrestling News World correspondent Scott Brooks is on hand at tonight's Smackdown tapings at the Amway Center in Orlando, and sent word that Raw will return on February 16, 2015. In addition, a live event is scheduled for Saturday, February 14, 2015 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Click here for more.
- Damien Sandow was dressed up as Adam Rose in a dark match prior to tonight's taping of WWE Main Event in Orlando, Florida. Rose defeated Sandow with the Party Foul.
- Adrian Neville defeated Tyler Breeze with a Red Arrow in a dark match prior to Main Event.
- Big Show defeated Kane by countout following tonight's WWE Smackdown taping. Click here for full taping results from tonight's show.
- Wrestling News World correspondent Scott Brooks sent word that WWE was offering a free T-shirt to fans who signed up for WWE Network at tonight's Smackdown taping in Orlando, Florida.
- During tonight's Smackdown taping, WWE posted a picture of Kenta backstage with Vince McMahon & Triple H:
- WWE United States Champion Sheamus was pulled from this week's Smackdown taping in Orlando, Florida, we can now confirm. According to a source, Sheamus showed up at the Amway Center extremely ill and was sent home "within 10 minutes." Apparently some type of bug has been going around the WWE locker room over the past week and had more than one talent working sick at Battleground.
- Michael Cole's latest kayfabe sit-down interview with Triple H is now online. Topics covered include the "arrest" of Stephanie McMahon, the return of Brock Lesnar and more. Click here to watch it or check it out.
- The following cryptic Tweet made the verified WWE Twitter account on Wednesday:
- Eden (real name Brandi Rhodes) updated her video blog that's now available at this link.
- WWE posted a commercial for the world television premiere of Wrestlemania 30 on NBC on Sunday, August 3, 2014 at 7/6 CT. Click here to watch it.
- WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena is filming a part in the movie "The Nest." You can view a photo of him on the set embedded below:
- On Wednesday, WWE posted a cryptic Tweet with the hashtag #WWETransformed. For those that missed it, the Tweet is below:
WWE followed-up on Thursday with a new cryptic Tweet, with the text, "He walks in darkness…" The Tweet is below:
- Darren Young had a check up on his surgically repaired knee on Wednesday in Birmingham, Alabama. He Tweeted the following:
Young tore the ligaments in a singles match against Fandango at a WWE live event in April. The injury required surgery to repair and he was originally estimated to be out 4-6 months (August-October).
- Triple H Tweeted Jim Ross for his years of service:
As previously reported, Wednesday, July 23, 2014 was the final day of JR's WWE contractual obligations.
- The latest episode of WWE Inbox is now online at this link.
- Sting joined Hulk Hogan, Daniel Bryan and Paul Heyman at the WWE/Mattel panel at the San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday. You can check out an iconic photo embedded below:
For those unable to see it on Twitter, you can check it out below:
Wrestling News World reader Jorge Romero sent another angle:
- WWE initiated a cryptic marketing campaign on Twitter on Wednesday and followed up on Thursday. The hashtag used was #WWETransformed, that accompanied some images.
The campaign was done to promote a new article on dot com that showcases "10 Superstar makeovers." You can read the piece [and view the images] at this link.
Richard Reacts: I cautioned on social media not to get too excited and anticipated a comic or WWE Network series. I believe the company found a way to somehow go below even my lowest expectations. A dot com article, really?
- WWE posted video footage of Sting's surprise appearance at the San Diego Comic Con on Thursday at this link.
Michael Cole introduced Sting as one of the most iconic names in WCW history, making his first WWE appearance of any kind. Sting said that it was awesome to be there and his first WWE action figure was very special to him. Cole asked him if he ever thought this would happen and Sting said he thought it would happen but so much time had passed, he was starting to wonder.
As for what this means for Sting/WWE, nothing has changed. The two parties have already come to terms on a licensing and merchandise deal that will see WWE release a DVD/Blu-Ray set on him in September. They're already selling Sting t-shirts on dot com and obviously, Mattel is on board with an action figure. He's also pre-order DLC for the WWE 2K15 video game.
A separate deal will have to be worked out if Sting were to wrestle and obviously, he hasn't been shy that he wants a match against The Undertaker. That not only hinges on WWE's desire for Sting to compete at age 55 (he'll be 56 at Wrestlemania 31) but Undertaker's desire and health for such a match.
We posted photos from Sting's surprise appearance and WWE posted a backstage video that you can watch below:
- WWE will run a show from the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia on Friday, September 19, 2014. John Cena, Sheamus, The Usos and Bray Wyatt are advertised. A presale is ongoing to obtain tickets using the password WYATTFAM.
- A couple of dot com links. First, they covered Sting's appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con International 2014. They didn't report anything more than we reported, in fact we reported more about his future at this link.
- Dot com examines the implosion of The BFFs at NXT at this link. They have a kayfabe article on Nikki Bella commenting on the Stephanie McMahon/Brie Bella angle at this link.
- Veronica Lane is on the road to recovery from an injury and updates in a new NXT Diva video blog. Watch at this link.
- WWE is releasing a Daniel Bryan autobiography titled, "Yes: My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of WrestleMania." The book is scheduled for a Spring 2015 release and is available for pre-order at this link.
- IGN interviewed Sting at San Diego Comic Con. You can watch at this link.
In the interview, Sting says he just wants one more match and talked about Hulk Hogan recruiting him to WWE.
- Roman Reigns and Titus O'Neil talk about being fathers in a new article by The Tampa Tribune. Click here to read the piece.
Katy Perry performed at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Thursday night. Apparently Triple H and Stephanie McMahon took one of their daughters as a birthday gift. Here's a backstage photo of Perry with Hunter and Stephanie:
Wrestling News World reader Jorge Romero sent us some photos that you can view below:
Randy Orton's girlfriend:
CM Punk at San Diego Comic Con:
Brock Lesnar and Sable on South Beach:
- Digital Spy has a new article online featuring quotes from Batista to promote his role in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film. In it, he made a bold prediction about CM Punk.
"I know for a fact that he loves professional wrestling," "I couldn't see him taking a step down and wrestling for a lesser organization. Unless he spent some time in Japan, I just don't see it. "I think eventually he'll come back. I think he belongs there. I think the fans really love him and miss him. "I think he loves it and misses it just as much. I'm really not sure why he left. "He'll be back, I would think that he would be back. I think it would be kind of crazy if he didn't go back."
Click here to read the piece in its entirety.
- WWE posted a dot com exclusive interview with Sting from the San Diego Comic-Con that was conducted on Thursday. You can watch it at this link.
The interview previews Sting's upcoming WWE action figure, his reaction to WCW being purchased by Vince McMahon and conversations with the WWE boss over the years. He admitted that he regrets Undertaker's streak ended at Wrestlemania XXX and wanted a match for the streak.
Sting wondered if he'll ever get a chance to step foot in a WWE ring.
- Major funding cutbacks are currently under discussion in WWE regarding the developmental system. With Triple H treating NXT as "his baby," he's taking it personally and feels like Vince McMahon is just trying to throw his weight around.
As we reported on Sunday, turmoil between Hunter and Vince has seemingly reached a boiling point after a loud argument backstage at the WWE live event at Madison Square Garden a few weeks ago. Triple H feels the issues between him and Vince are connected with the NXT cutbacks.
Vince not only wants to cut back on new hires but cut money from the tapings themselves, specifically wanting to avoid "main roster taent fly ins" for future tapings. Additionally, the search for more property in the Orlando area -- for more buildings to expand training capabilities -- has also been put on hold.
- The sequel to the first WWE Studios film -- See No Evil, appropriately titled See No Evil 2 -- will be available on on Digital HD and Video On Demand Friday, October 17, and on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD) and DVD (plus Digital) on Tuesday, October 21.
Dot com has a preview of the film with the promotional poster at this link. You can watch the official trailer for the film starring Kane at this link.
The WWE Studios production "Leprechaun: Origins" starring Hornswoggle will be available on August 26th on Digital HD and Video on Demand and Blu-ray and DVD September 30th. You can watch the official trailer at this link.
- Dot com interviewed Seth Rollins to promote his new pro wrestling academy. Click here to read it.
- What entrance themes do Superstars wish they had? Dot com takes a look in this feature piece.
- John Cena had some fun on Twitter on Friday, read it below:
- WWE announced their quarterly dividend on Friday. Below is the official announcement:
STAMFORD, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- WWE (NYSE:WWE) announced that its Board of Directors today declared the Company’s regular quarterly dividend of $0.12 per share for all Class A and B shares of common stock. The record date for the dividend will be September 15, 2014, and the payment date will be September 25, 2014.
- It's worth noting that all initial WWE Network subscriptions are set to automatically renew beginning on Sunday, August 24, 2014. Subscriptions are set to auto-renew with an automatic 6-month re-commitment at $9.99 month as long as the account remains untouched. The company sent out an email reminder on Friday. Those wishing to cancel must manually adjust their settings.
- This week's episode of The JBL & Cole Show -- featuring ESPN'sJon Gruden -- is now online at this link.
- ABC 15 out of Phoenix, Arizona reports that Daniel Bryan stopped a burglar outside his house on Monday night as he and wife Brie Bella were returning home. The article continues:
According to Phoenix police, Bryan Danielson, better known as Daniel Bryan, was pulling into his carport with his wife when he saw the door that leads to his house start to open.
Two men ran out of the house and fled on foot. Danielson was able to catch one of the men, 22-year-old Cesar Sosa.
Sosa and Danielson got into a struggle but Danielson was able to detain him until officials arrived, police said.
The second suspect was not located as of press time, but Sosa has been charged with burglary. Bryan is expected to speak with media later today.
Click here to read the full article.
- Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella, along with their dog Josie, spoke at a conference with Phoenix police following an attempted burglary at their home earlier this week. Bryan explained the timeline of events, noting that he subdued one of the two alleged burglars with a rear naked choke (not a Yes Lock or Cattle Mutilation, as he said he was worried about getting sued).
He also noted that he was able to recover a box containing a bracelet from his late father that read "To the man that you've become and the son you'll always be." In addition, Bryan gave an update on his neck injury and an explanation of the second surgery that doctors want to have done, saying he only has about half the strength in his right arm that he does in his left arm.
He noted that they had only been living at the home for 10 days and had planned to put an alarm system in that Wednesday, but physical therapy appointments and his scheduled appearance at San Diego Comic Con pushed the plans back.
The video is available at this link.
- One of the biggest non-stories of the weekend was the abysmal attendance at TNA live events. The show on Friday night in Louisville caused some horrifying photos of low attendance. On Saturday night, the company ran in a minor league baseball stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. That show was estimated to have drawn around 300 fans. In what one can only wonder if it's a rib, TNA referee Brian Hebner Tweeted the following:
- TNA Wrestling Tweeted early on Sunday morning that big news is coming later in the day. No announcement yet but here's the Tweet:
- TNA Wrestling announced on Sunday that Matt Hardy has been "invited" to this week's Impact by his brother Jeff Hardy.
The Great Muta has also been confirmed to appear on this week's Impact Wrestling.
- TNA Wrestling announced on Monday they'll tape a British Boot Camp 2 special on Saturday, August 16, 2014 in London, England. The special will be comprised of the show's judges and stars, competing in the "final" of the UK portion of the Challenge TV show. Tickets will be available on a first come, first served basis - with ticket holders to the January 2015 tour of the United Kingdom given priority. More information will be released on Thursday. Click here for more on ImpactWrestling.com.
- TNA Champion Bobby Lashley Tweeted the following:
The Tweet is in response to WWE aligning Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods together on Monday Night Raw. The connection is obvious as TNA has a similar faction of Lashley, MVP and Kenny King.
- TNA Wrestling continues to use social media as a platform to announce new talent contracts. John Gaburick Tweeted on Wednesday that TNA has agreed to terms on contract extensions with Brooke, Samuel Shaw and Sanada. The following is from Twitter:
Brooke and Shaw are under new multi-year deals, while Sanada is signed for one year. Click here for coverage on ImpactWrestling.com.
- TNA Wrestling announced on Friday that Tajiri is set for their upcoming Impact tapings at the Manhattan Center in New York City from August 5-7. Dixie Carter also shared the news on Twitter:
Click here to read the announcement in its entirety.
- This week's episode of Impact Wrestling did an average viewing audience of 1,420,000 viewers on Spike TV. This number is up from last week's summer high.
So far, TNA's shows in New York City are providing some promise when the company needs it the most.
TV by the Numbers has data for the top 100 cable shows for Thursday online at this link.
Are there any plans or future plans for Chris Jericho to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? If not, then what's next after his victory against Bray Wyatt at Battleground?
I was surprised that Chris Jericho was booked over Bray Wyatt at WWE Battleground but it makes sense. WWE wants to extend the program to SummerSlam and Jericho just came back, so he needed a victory to build credibility. However, that doesn't mean there are plans to strap him as he is only working on a short-term part-time agreement. I thought Chris and Bray had a good match but I also must say that Bray's Wyatt Family colleagues had the better bout.
What are your initial thoughts on WWE Battleground?
I will have my complete thoughts on WWE Battleground in a podcast later on Monday but to sum it up, I thought it was a weak effort. The show wasn't predictable and there were some good matches, however, there was plenty to criticize. I'm still baffled at WWE scripting that ridiculous promo from Lana, they pulled a bush league bait and switch with Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins, AJ Lee vs. Paige looked lost and the entire night was anticlimactic. I do not judge the pay-per-views as strict now that they do not carry a hefty price tag but that doesn't excuse WWE from trying either. It was a weak show.
What do you make of Rusev's dominance and gimmick?
I am unhappy with the gimmick and feel WWE made a big mistake with Lana's promo at WWE Battleground. 298 innocent people were killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down. Russian President Vladimir Putin is far from innocent and to praise him -- even in storyline -- when his involvement is in question is ridiculous. While WWE has been known for controversial angles in the past, their commitment to restoring their public image after Benoit has been very strong. However, after their underwhelming domestic TV deal with NBCUniversal, the mass roster cuts and the embarrassing situation with Emma's firing and rehiring, it almost feels like they aren't even trying anymore. WWE has gone from an organized machine to showing severe dysfunction. Knowing that things between Triple H and Vince McMahon have broken down, there are major issues at present time. It was hard to enjoy Rusev's match with Jack Swagger after Lana's promo but it was more competitive than originally planned because Vince McMahon is happy with the babyface reception Swagger has garnered.
Has WWE forced themselves to promote John Cena as their World Heavyweight Champion?
It was the right move to put the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on John Cena at Money in the Bank and it was the right move for him to retain at Battleground. When Daniel Bryan went down, WWE had to revert to their top star to create stability. Those that wanted Roman Reigns to walk out of Battleground as WWE World Heavyweight Champion are failing to see the bigger picture. For one, there are plans to do Cena vs. Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. For Cena to be a viable threat to the man that ended Undertaker's streak, he has to come in as strong as possible. Next, I don't think Roman Reigns is quite ready. He will be there in time but stability is important at the current juncture. The worst thing WWE could do for Reigns is strap him too early.
From the Ask WNW vault…
January 2013: With the IC and US titles being meaningless at this point (the titles change hands on non live TV events and haven’t had a decent storyline, champion, or meaningful title defense in a long time) in your opinion would it benefit WWE to just drop one or both all together or drop those titles in favor of a gimmick title(s) like say the Cruiserweight title or create something new? - I would be in favor of eliminating the WWE United States Championship but do not think both secondary titles should be scrapped. I am against introducing any new titles as they have a hard enough time showcasing the belts they currently have, as you mentioned. Title changes on taped shows are actually beneficial for the live audience as they maintain the illusion that “anything can happen.” It would not be wise to change a major title on tape but as long as the titles are being defended, there isn’t a scenario that’s necessarily bad.
I just watched CM Punk's short red carpet interview with Chris Van Vliet and he seemed to take a page out of Chris Jericho's book with his "never ever ever" coming back. If he's not coming back, why do that?
CM Punk told Chris Van Vliet there was no chance that he returns to the ring and then had some fun with the Twitterverse. If we've learned anything about the wrestling business, it's never to say never even when the wrestlers themselves say that. Bret Hart returned to WWE and hugged Shawn Michaels on live television. That one moment from January 2010 should have eliminated any use of the word "never." As for Punk, I'm glad to see he's doing well. He'd been banged up for far too long, the miles were showing on him and now he seems rejuvenated and happy. Not many have the financial stability and the courage to walk away in their prime. Will he be back? Time will tell but for now, it's time to stop chanting "CM Punk" at shows and realize he's doing things his way.
Is WWE rushing Brock Lesnar into the title picture?
After beating The Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXX and ending the iconic streak, where else is there to book Brock Lesnar? Even a feud for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is a step down, so I don't think bringing Lesnar back and putting him in the biggest program they can is rushing anything. I understand many are skeptical about Lesnar, a part-timer, going over John Cena at SummerSlam and holding the title until Wrestlemania but I'm told if that's the direction WWE goes in, they will handle it appropriately.
Is there a reason why The Wyatt Family is always going under?
The losses of Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper & Erick Rowan at Battleground were surprising but part of a bigger plan. WWE wants to extend Bray vs. Chris Jericho through SummerSlam, so it's not about the battle but about the war (a similar line that was used in Bray's promo on Raw). As for Harper and Rowan, their loss wasn't so much abut burying them, as it was further legitimizing The Usos as the company's top tag team. Jimmy and Jey Uso have seen their stock skyrocket based on their in-ring work and the crowd's response to it.
Why does WWE do live events at Madison Square Garden ? Why not hold Raw or a PPV there?
WWE rarely tapes television or pay-per-views from Madison Square Garden in New York City because it's expensive. Jim Ross stated on his podcast that they would run million dollar shows at the Garden but lose money because of the cost to tape there. He said the shows were so expensive, the best they could do was break even. This is why WWE more often than not runs live events at Madison Square Garden as opposed to television or pay-per-view.
From the Ask WNW vault…
December 2012: What’s your Mount Rushmore for WWE Divas? - I used to hate this question for WWE wrestlers but when I included it, a great discussion ensued. Everyone is open to their own opinion but my Mount Rushmore of WWE Divas would be Tammy Sytch, Trish Stratus, “Sensational” Sherri Martel and Mae Young. Tammy Sytch created the modern day Diva, Trish is my pick for the top women’s wrestler in the history of the business, while Sherri and Mae created opportunities that paved the way for them to be successful.
Why is WWE so high up on Brock Lesnar when he cannot even cut his own promo? When he speaks, he sounds like a boy hitting puberty. Also watching his matches, his work doesn't flow well and is sloppy.
I guess it's safe to say that you aren't a Brock Lesnar fan. You aren't alone as many WWE fans despise Lesnar because of his part-time status and tremendous rub by ending The Undertaker's iconic streak. Vince McMahon sees Brock as a major draw based on how he drew over 1 million pay-per-view buys for UFC and was determined that Lesnar's first post-UFC appearances would be in his ring. I'm actually a Lesnar fan -- not because I think he cuts good promos or has flawless matches -- but because he's a huge spectacle. His size alone is intriguing and every time he's in a match, I wonder aloud how he's going to get to the bell without injuring someone. Vince didn't order Lesnar over Undertaker, despite what some people think. Undertaker wanted to pass the rub and signed off on the outcome himself. Lesnar used to be a really good in-ring worker but his style has significantly changed since returning to WWE in 2012, however, I find it entertaining.
What is your response to the heel turn of Paige? I already think she is more interesting and the Miami crowd seemed to love it.
Paige needed a change -- any change -- to help her reset. She was a successful heel in NXT, so I'm all for the turn on the main roster. I believe Paige is one of the most talented Divas to come through the company's developmental system in quite some time but I blame the writers for her immediate flop. I say it all the time and it stands repeating. Elevations must be handled carefully and tactfully. Name a rocket-pack push that worked. It's hard to think of one and even The Rock had to be Intercontinental Champion before he was the most electrifying talent in sports entertainment. This is why I didn't think Roman Reigns should win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Battleground. He's not ready. Build him and let him chase so when he does go over, he'll have a chance to succeed.
Is WWE not worried about a potential, unintentional PR disaster with Lana and Rusev, similar to what happened with Mohammad Hassan and the 'terrorist' angle several years ago?
I texted a WWE contact on Saturday to see if any changes would be made to Lana/Rusev in light of the Malaysian Airlines crash last Thursday. I was unable to gain any insight as I knew the gimmick continued untouched at weekend live events. It felt like not only did WWE not "tone it down" at Battleground but they turned it up. She continued to praise Vladimir Putin on this week's episode of WWE Main Event and is getting nuclear heat. I wasn't a fan of the Battleground promo because I felt that it was in poor taste. Based on recent WWE PR missteps, I don't believe they are as concerned with public image as they once were.
You've previously discussed the use of both the World Heavyweight Championship and WWE Championship belts and WWE's long-term plan to keep the belt The Rock introduced last year. With all signs pointing to complete transformation from the scratch logo to the new Network logo in the coming month, where does that leave the WWE title and all belts featuring the scratch logo in some form?
WWE continues a slow transition to their new "Network logo." They already changed the NXT title belt and I expect the others to follow in due time. I do not believe that WWE will introduce a completely new WWE title belt, considering the current one cost $50,000 to produce and a year and a half to do so.
I for one feel like Battleground was a HUGE letdown! Canceling an advertised match with the old bait and switch is completely unacceptable (especially if they want me/others to keep my/their network subscription). While I know Ambrose/Rollins is being set up for SummerSlam and that's all good and well, what WWE did was a blatant act of false advertising in my opinion. What are your thoughts on the PPV overall?
I couldn't agree more with advertising and then pulling Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins. If they didn't want to do it, fine but don't advertise it. As I explained in Richard Reacts to WWE Battleground, that's why we don't cover independent promotions here on Wrestling News World. A lot of indy shows feature promotional material showing talent in their physical prime from 10-15 years ago and the actual product is much different than what was promised. WWE advertised Ambrose vs. Rollins for Battleground, so they had an obligation to do it. It was a bush league move and the pay-per-view as a whole was a weak effort. I do not judge WWE pay-per-views as strictly now that they have a lower price tag, however, that doesn't mean WWE can get away with not trying either.
From the Ask WNW vault…
March 2012: Do you think that Jim Ross should indeed commentate at Wrestlemania XXVIII like he did last year? - If it were up to me, Jim Ross would still be the “voice of WWE” and would still be the play-by-play man of Raw Supershow alongside his long-time broadcast colleague Jerry Lawler. It wasn’t JR’s decision to leave broadcasting and it’s Vince McMahon that has implemented the new direction. I think just about everyone would rather see Jim Ross than Michael Cole but unfortunately it’s not our decision to make. So to answer your question, yes I think JR should work Wrestlemania.
Do you think WWE would be dumb enough to book John Cena over Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam?
The event was Extreme Rules 2012; a hot crowd just outside of Chicago and WWE had all the momentum they could stand with Brock Lesnar returning after carrying the UFC to unseen levels of popularity. In one of the worst creative decisions in WWE's history, John Cena was booked over Lesnar in just under 18 minutes. Surely, WWE won't make the same mistake twice. Not after giving Lesnar the streak. It's not beyond the realm of possibilities -- because literally anything can happen -- but one can only hope WWE will do the right thing.
What do you think about the way Dean Ambrose has really come into his own since the separation of The Shield? In my opinion, aside from the lack of size that Reigns has over him, he is the much better star. He is probably the hottest star in WWE today.
I like how WWE is tapping into Dean Ambrose's "unstable/insane/hardcore" character that he portrayed on the domestic independent scene. It's what put him on the map and it's the most effective way to assure he smoothly makes the transition to a singles star. What I don't like is his ring gear. I've said it more than once -- and I know there are several that disagree -- but he looks too much like Luke Harper. I don't think his ring gear is a hindrance, however, he would stand out better if it were different.
What did Damien Sandow do to get put in the position he is in now?
Everyone wants to know what you have to do to get booked like Damien Sandow. I don't know if it's a situation where he has heat or if creative just has nothing for him, so they revert to comedy. The booking is atrocious, the gimmick is reminiscent of the dreadful one WWE gave Charlie Haas and I'm not optimistic about his future. Every stat I can give you is horrible. Take into account he's 3-37 in televised/pay-per-view matches for the year (including gimmicks such as Royal Rumble) and lost 3 times at a weekend live event.
Does it surprise you that Brock Lesnar, the man who ended Undertaker's Wrestlemania streak three months ago, actually got a huge pop upon returning last Monday on Raw?
I noticed the pop for Brock Lesnar on this week's Raw as well. I don't know if fans were just excited to see a non-regular or if they just want a viable threat to John Cena but WWE will have to monitor the situation throughout the program. I know efforts were made to keep Bray Wyatt from turning babyface in his program with Cena and he still drew babyface reactions where they went. Perhaps this is a rhetorical question but what does this say about John Cena? The plan headed into SummerSlam is for Cena to play the face and Lesnar to play the heel.
From the Ask WNW vault…
September 2012: With growing concerns from WWE talent about the pay and compensation they are receiving; can you see a union for professional wrestlers forming in the future? - We get questions from time-to-time about a pro wrestling union with the issue really being brought to the forefront after the Benoit tragedy, however, I don’t see how it would be possible. Performer’s contracts in WWE are signed as independent contractor agreements, where the workers agree they are not classified as employees even though the company stipulates very specifically when and where they can work. Former workers have challenged the contracts in court, however, they are iron clad in terms of validity and enforcement.
Do wrestlers actually write their autobiographies and do they have to be careful content-wise to avoid potential libel suits or drawing WWE criticism?
Many of the autobiographies are done with authors. For example, Steve Austin's WWE-released "The Stone Cold Truth" was written by Dennis Brent but with Austin. Mick Foley wrote his own books but he's an actual author and has done other projects such as children's books and fiction. Daniel Bryan's upcoming autobiography we wrote about on Thursday will be done with Craig Tello. The problem with a Daniel Bryan autobiography is that it's too soon, something WWE has a bad habit of doing. As for certain information being withheld in WWE-released books, that's always something to hold in consideration and why a book like Bret Hart's independently released autobiography has more credibility.
When is Jeff Jarrett's Global Force Wrestling scheduled to begin and will it be televised?
There is no start date for Jeff Jarrett's Global Force Wrestling promotion. We heard they were having a hard time getting domestic television clearance and investors were hesitant to start signing talent until they had assurance regarding TV. You can read our latest report at this link.
I love the idea of Sting vs. Undertaker but who should win?
There are still a lot of things that must happen for Sting vs. Undertaker to become a reality in WWE. First, an agreement between Sting and WWE for him to wrestle must be reached. Sting clearly has a working relationship with WWE as he has deals with Mattel and 2KSports and the company is selling Sting t-shirts. However, no deal for him to perform has been agreed upon. Next, Undertaker was banged up pretty bad in his match against Brock Lesnar this year and he could very well be finished competing. Lastly, if Sting agreed to a deal and Undertaker was able and wanted the match, it would have to fit into the company's creative plans. I agree the booking would be difficult but it's premature at best until aforementioned issues are worked out.
I am 38 years old and have been watching WWE since I was 5 years old. With Raw being on three hours long I find myself skipping through the matches and simply watching key segments. Is WWE aware of this?
In short, yes WWE is aware the length of Raw has changed viewing habits. Prior to Raw going three hours in 2012, the company would generally see an increase in viewership from hour one to hour two. Now, more often than not, Raw loses viewership and even if the audience grows from hour one to hour two, it almost always drops off for the third and final hour (sometimes as the lowest viewed hour). We monitor the trends in our Raw viewership archive at this link. WWE is also internally aware that people tune in and out of the show, trying to pinpoint key segments. This is why Triple H has pushed for the company to "hide" feature segments and not just put them at the top of each hour.
The reason Raw has remained three hours despite the change in viewership habits is because WWE makes more money with the extra hour from the USA Network. Because of this and the fact the show is the highest rated program on the network, it remains untouched. I've said it since the beginning and my position has not changed. Raw being three hours is too much and requires too much of a commitment from the fan base week in and week out. Not only that but WWE has expanded the show with the Raw Pre-Show and Backstage Pass (which has been on hiatus recently but is scheduled for next Monday) on WWE Network and the show is essentially four hours long. Taking into account the WWE App keeps the show going during commercial breaks and it's just too much.
From the Ask WNW vault…
November 2011: Do you feel that if the WWE Network was to turn out to be a miserable failure that this might impact the financial viability of the WWE as a whole? Do you believe we would see changes in the WWE as we know it? - Some people I’ve spoken with in the company feel if the network fails it could be the project to put Vince McMahon in financial trouble. McMahon seemed convinced in yesterday’s conference call it was going to be a success but offered very little in terms of encouragement. While I completely see the need and reasoning for the WWE Network, it’s not going to be easy to get clearance and I want to see the company’s model before passing judgment. With that being said, there have been some “interesting” ideas for non-wrestling programming.